Who is Fernando Reguerio and what is his crazy marketing scheme?

This last week I was in the Chicago area for Brown Paper Tickets.

And a highlight was certainly my visit with the (USARS) Chicago Red Hots and their general manager Fernando Reguerio. After a great career as a professional soccer star, he had a long relationship with the Windy City Rollers, and his wife is the fabulous Kola Loka, but that is not what this is about. I do not intend to reveal all of his marketing strategy, but he intends to use so many interesting techniques and programs to increase interest and attendance for the team’s games. He also has found a way to eliminate drama, allow the players to make some money and more, but you have to contact him to find out about that.

And he has reached out to both Brown Paper Tickets (www.brownpapertickets.com) and me to utilize the services that we provide to everyone (but so few ask!). And of course as a former Roller Derby promoter (hello, out there!) I will do as much as I can personally to help him succeed.

Do you know who Bill Graham was (no, not the televangelist Billy Graham), but the man who invented the Rock and Roll concert and touring business. As head of BASS Tickets I was fortunate (?) enough to have worked with him, and he never took his eye off of the ultimate object. Here is his quote about the concert, entertainment and sport business:

“It starts with the ticket. I ask myself how I would like to be treated when buying a concert ticket…and EVERYTHING else evolves from there”

I am not going to get involved in the argument of whom the teams are skating for: themselves or the fans. I will only quote the genius of Bob Noxious who has worked with dozens of leagues in many countries: “Once you have decided to charge admission to your events, you are in the entertainment business”.

Now we at BPT will work with you if you ask for help in promotion, marketing, donations, fundraising, maximization of your tickets sales and more and more. And we have been judged the best ticket company to work with (and it doesn’t cost you anything!) by a number of independent organizations, and our customer service is unmatched. We recently received an “Oscar” for our 24-hour live service from the organization of ballet companies in the San Francisco Bay Area (we are not just about Derby).

Now to Bill Graham’s quote: have you carefully thought out the presentation of your event, how the public is engaged, the professionalism of your attraction and will the public love it? do you survey, use the resources for in-depth analysis from your ticket company, and on and on.

So, I have promoted over 3000 Derby games, sport events (including soccer), concerts and more. And recently I was asked to help from two different leagues (be still my heart!). And Bob who of course is with BPT also is available, and Michelle Sunnyday with us also skates Derby.

It is absolutely amazing to me that with revenue being so essential to the survival of most leagues that ticket sales, marketing, promotion often are on the back burner……and many of the many hundreds of leagues that utilize us do not maximize our resources……we are so unusual in that the better you promote us, and use us, the more revenue you receive……and I can give you a little secret on how to immediately sell more tickets for your upcoming game after the present one.

And if you are coming to Rollercon do not miss our seminar on all aspects of presenting and promoting successful Roller Derby…Bob and I in room 114 at 2 PM on July 24.

And if you are not using us, I can honestly say as the former founder of BASS Tickets and the Executive Vice President of Ticketmaster, that you are not maximizing your potential reach to customers, old and new.

Yes, today’s Derby for many is “for the skaters by the skaters”, but how about a little help from your friends?

And by the way, when you walk into Fernando’s hideaway in Cicero, the fans are treated so well and are so happy, but the main thing is the game is so exciting all the way through….In the long run, it is the event that attracts, brings in the fans, and hopefully brings them back.

Has your attendance declined? time to re-evaluate.

and here are some photos by Gil Leora from last Saturday’s game at Cicero…..no players standing around….full engagement by the players and by the fans.


Oh, I am jerry@brownpapertickets.com, and Bob is Bob@brownpapertickets.com……that is all you need to know, except for Michelle@brownpapertickets.com.

ok, just my opinion

This will be my last post before Rollercon, and certainly my last comments on the state of Derby today.

First what I find frustrating:  in so many of the games I watch on DNN or WFTDA.tv I find more and more teams utilizing the slow down strategy to try and equalize the match.  By virtually stopping the pack several things are happening:  often a relative inaction by both teams in starting the jam, and when it does start because the pack is “locked”, the jammer catches them in 25 or so seconds, making a 2-minute jam ridiculously long.

You, the skaters, control the game and the rules.  Just a few changes would help and maybe even check the off-balancing effect of the power jam.  The officials should signal the pack to keep moving or a penalty would be given; the jam time shortened to one minute; and if a jammer is sent to the box in a jam, the team is allowed to field a jammer on the subsequent jam, with a blocker position serving the remainder of the penalty.

Roller Derby is about action, speed, and the chase.  I personally don’t think any jam should start without a jammer on each team.  Don’t allow this game to become one of inaction.  There is far too much intrinsic excitement.

I know I am talking about the WFTDA game; USARS has made some significant changes, and MADE with 40 leagues and OSDA are skating basically the original rules, but I really hope that the different games could be brought closer together…..I have heard complaints that WFTDA teams are discouraged from participating in other skating leagues and often great animosity is shown between the different leagues under different rules.  This certainly will not help the sport move forward, and it seems crazy to me that different leagues in the same areas do not compete against each other.

But that is just my opinion.

Now for the positive.  As time goes by, many of the original skaters are still going strong, bringing their basic knowledge of how the game should be strategized and played to others.  I see less and less of players not understanding what their function is.  The fan base in many areas has grown significantly, and you see so much acceptance and pride in so many communities of what their league means to them.

A recent list in Buzz-feed had Roller Derby listed among the 10 most difficult sports requiring the most skill to play.  You have really established a foothold and admiration for what you are doing and have accomplished.  And remember, when you are compared to other sports they are mostly professional or very well funded.  I am amazed that the growth continues, and as you know, I am just blown away by the love of the game and each other you portray, often with hardships that few outside the game realize.

As I head for my fifth Rollercon, I am more excited than at the first.  I am participating in so many different things:  my seminar on 4 PM on Saturday;  my announcing of the over 40s game at 2 PM on Saturday with Derby wife Val Capone; my Derby wedding with the wonderful Lori Milkers (“I like women” post on this blog), and for the first time, a booth.

Come visit us in the GoMerch/Seltzer brand booth with Judi Flowers and Jim Weymouth of www.seltzerbrand.com, Dan Cooper of GoMerch, and Lori Milkeris who will be selling her end violence bracelets for her continuing medical expenses.  And I just might autograph a “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” book for you.  and the blessed  Laura Blastfemi Kelly has sent some of her delilghtful “Kiss” stickers.

And of course, being a promoter, one more thing:  a free raffle to win books, bag tags, rock and roll shirts from Go Merch, autographed “Roller Derby to Rollerjam” books, and an original Midwest Pioneer jersey (like the one I wear on my facebook page), from 40 years ago.  Priceless.

And Judi has candy for you.

me and Paul Revere (only I got sick)

Image by d-s-n from stock.xchng.com.

Got back from the Northeast Derby Convention yesterday.  Only problem was I only lasted Friday and part of Saturday, coming down with heavy congestion and laryngitis.

On the flight from Oakland to Boston (a redeye, I should have known better), I started feeling not well, and by the time Doug Martin of Roll Models (you know, over 60 of the leagues are using his superior uniforms) picked me up to go to Providence, I knew it would be a tough haul.

Well, Dee Stortion (Jeezus, will I ever know anyone’s real name…..try having 5000 friends on facebook and when you meet them you don’t know who the hell they are), her mother, Eric, and her whole staff did an amazing job for this event.  Personally, on behalf of the vendors, I wish there had been more spectators and walkers around, but I am sure that will be rectified in the future.  There were a lot of skaters and quite a number of my friends who said hello.

Dee and Eric were kind enough to change my talk from 6 PM on Saturday to 1 PM so I could rattle off a few words and Doug was good enough to shut down his booth, and get me back to Boston……I am home now and feeling much better.

I watched the skating and the top trainers were all on hand:  My old buddy Quadzilla (from Rollerjam days) as well as Bonnie d, Suzy and all the others.  And the skaters from the 84  leagues present were very serious.

And that made me think of something:  The average skater today probably has been at it for 2 to 3 years or more, and all they want to do is get better and better and enjoy what they are doing even more.  The intensity with which they pursue perfection is perhaps unequaled.  And what is their reward for taking time off from work or family, spending the dollars to come, and buying and upgrading their equipment, etc?  Only that they will get better at this thing they love and has so grabbed their life.

If only those who needed it could get some of the costs covered.  The most obvious solution is greater attendance and merchandise sales, more sponsors,  and, wherever possible, playing in larger and more profitable venues.  As we know, that is easier said than done.

At Rollercon this year, I would like to address how can leagues merchandise themselves better?  This obviously involves production, marketing, and certainly a top level of game against the best possible opponents.  Let me know your feelings about this.  This game will only die if those in it decide it is too much of a sacrifice.  Let’s not let this happen.

Subscribe to my blog by entering your email address at the upper right hand portion of this page.  It is free, of course.

Nothing makes any sense

A few posts back I mentioned about publicity.  So much of the good that is going on with Roller Derby is virtually unknown, and yet someone like Kim Kardashian is followed by millions (not just on TV and media, but literally with 6.9 million following her on facebook and 10.9 million on twitter).  And if she and her family are examples of what America is or should be, maybe the Iranians should just come in and set us straight!

a multi-million dollar wedding extravaganza, higher ratings on cable than major league playoffs, and an example of the spoiled 1% that those in the street are protesting about.

And we have literally thousands of Derby people worldwide who are not only skating at their own expense, but doing so much good work in their communities and lives that they deserve so much more.

And then we have Lori Milkeris who has become such a symbol to all of us.  To be beaten and disfigured within an inch of her life by someone she loved and trusted, and now going through the ordeal of surgery and getting her life together, trying to complete her college degree, raising her children and just existing.  And even when her tormentor was sentenced to a long prison term, it has not given her closure but, because of her compassion has caused her even further anxiety.

But she is making it through all of this, and has the love and help of thousands of Derby sisters and brothers.  And because of her and others in Derby, we now have, thanks to Rhea, Derby against Domestic violence on facebook, with over 2300 who have joined and many who have been helped already.

Kristine Milkeris-Smith,  Lori’s sister, has been there to help take care of her, but is now back home with her own family, but is devoting herself to continuing to help and to further get the word out about domestic violence.  She has created purple message bracelets that sell for $2 each to help with Lori’s continuing surgery.  Please go to Lori aid 2011 on facebook or to Kristine’s site (her name).

Please note that at Lori aid 2011 by the photo of the bracelets, there is a link to make a donation through paypal….any amount is great.

And in Doug Martin and my booth at the WFTDA Championships I will be selling the bracelets and taking checks for Lori.  If you don’t want to come by and see me just for the wonderful person I am, at least make certain you stop by to aid a Derby sister who needs your help now.

This societal ill is endemic both within Derby and certainly without.  Many leagues are working to inform and educate their members and outreach to the community through women’s shelters and more.  And there are organizations that men can join who have engaged in violence or want to stop it.  And it is not only limited to violence against women.  Men and children are also victims.

Roller Derby is often what our life is all about; not just the game, but the empowerment, the closeness with others, with doing good for our community.  When you are at the penultimate event of the year in Derby:  the WFTDA Championships, or you are watching on WFTDA.com or listening on Derby news network, add to your good feeling by helping someone who really needs you.

I have asked Lori to be my second Derby wife at Rollercon next year,  and she has accepted!   I hope you understand dear Val and Judi.